İrem UZUN -TDO- James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer who helped found the White Helmets volunteer search-and-rescue organization in Syria was found dead in Istanbul on Monday. A spokesman for the White Helmets confirmed the death in their Twitter account and said the group "learned with shock and sadness the news" of the death of Mr. Le Mesurier.
The body of James Le Mesurier (48) was discovered near his home in central Istanbul's Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The office of Istanbul’s governor said it had commenced a “comprehensive” investigation. The Reuters news agency said it had been told his death was being treated as suspected suicide.
The White Helmets, which is also known as the Syria Civil Defense, helps rescue civilians caught up in attacks in areas of Syria controlled by the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Le Mesurier received an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from the Queen in 2016 for "services to the Syria Civil Defense group and the protection of civilians in Syria".
On the other hand, the Syrian government and its allies Russia and Iran have accused the White Helmets of openly aiding terrorist organizations and the Russian foreign ministry last week accused Mr. Le Mesurier of being a former agent of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6.